More Than Just a Terrorist Group

The biggest change in Operation Inherent Resolve, from an air perspective, is that ISIS is no longer just looked at as a terrorist group, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Tuesday. Speaking at a discussion with all the service chiefs at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Welsh said the original strategy in Iraq and Syria allowed ISIS to “have a vote” and “kind of direct activity” for the first six to eight months. Then, he said, the US realized ISIS looked like “something much more than a terrorist group,” because they had “training infrastructure, recruiting infrastructure, financial infrastructure, governance infrastructure,” and “what looked like fielded military forces,” in addition to the terrorism component. “From an Air Force perspective, you can attack all those different pieces simultaneously,” he said, and the air coalition has done so. (Transcript of Council on Foreign Relations event.) (For more coverage of the event, see also: Quality vs. Quantity and A Natural Evolution.)